It absolutely confounds me, that there is a large number of Bible believing Christians that STILL have not caught the revelation of Grace.
Sometimes I feel like we go too far both ways in this discussion.
In one side we see a lot of well-meaning but sadly, a group people that still hold onto legalism which is trying to follow God’s law in our strength. We try to please in our own ability, not realising that you have already pleased God.
The beauty of the Cross is that it covers all sin and simple faith in the Son of Man who gave his life for you is enough to please God.
Why we fall into the trap of legalism is complex, but it seems that one of the most common reasons is:
It seems too good to be true!
Ever had such an amazing offer online and you think, that just seems ‘too good to be true.’
I have been conditioned to believe that if it sounds too good to be true it more than likely is.
The message of the Cross is too good, but it’s true.
You have salvation which is a hope, a future and the quest for righteousness, simply due to your willingness to accept the free gift of salvation.
Got to be too good to be true right?
So, we add our own spin to the mix, “I have to read my Bible and Pray every day?”
“Maybe God is fed up with me constantly getting it wrong all the time and seemingly never learning from my mistakes?”
The truth is there is nothing you can do make yourself more righteous. Jesus paid the price for your sin and there is nothing you can do to change that, except receive the gift.
The Parable of the Prodigal Son (A parable of Grace)
If you have never read the story of the Prodigal Son, please get yourself a Bible and do it.
There are four characters in this story.
There is the father, the older brother, the younger brother and the younger brother who was transformed by the forgiveness of the Father.
To cut it short, the younger brother demanded his inheritance from the father (Luke chapter 15 verse 12). He went away, wasted his inheritance, the money ran out, he began to starve due to a famine in the land.
After being hired to feed pigs, he became so hungry that what the pigs were eating was starting to look good.
He decides to go home and work for his father as a slave, not even dreaming that he would be called his son again.
He gets home and the father, instead of scalding him for practically wishing he was dead, restored and celebrated his return.
The moral of the story—forget about what you have done and just return to God.
That is how easy it is, but we try and please God when we refuse to realise that his love is what transforms us from the inside out.
Then there is the other side
Sometimes we misunderstand Grace. Grace is so powerful because we realise that we have been saved and released from the power of death.
Romans says that the wages of sin is death! (Romans chapter 6 verse 23).
Our sin leads us to death but through Jesus the last Adam, life came to us (Romans chapter 5 verses 12-21).
The prodigal son is powerful because the younger son received such amazing grace.
But we forget that the younger son first confessed his sin, he said, “Father I have sinned against heaven and against you.” (Luke chapter 15 verse 21)
There was acknowledgement of sin.
Grace does not ignore sin.
To know grace, you have to know sin.
That is why you must never use grace as an excuse for sin, or to remain silent on sin.
I hope that gives the Church something to think about.
Ben Kruzins is the Campus Pastor of The Hub Baptist Church in Ocean Shores on the North Coast of New South Wales. He is also a Journalism graduate who has written articles in The Canberra Times and The Sydney Morning Herald.